A Norfolk MP who has spearheaded a government decision to ban calculators from primary school tests said it would help boost the numeracy skills of the region’s youngsters.

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The government today announced youngsters would no longer be able to rely on the aides as part of their Key Stage 2 assessments from 2014.

Education and childcare minister – and South West Norfolk MP – Elizabeth Truss revealed the decision which she said would help to tackle a culture which had made it acceptable to be “bad with numbers”.

There are currently three maths tests sat by youngsters at the end of primary school, one of which allows calculators to be used.

Making the announcement, Ms Truss said: “All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums.

“By banning calculators in the maths test, we will reduce dependency on them in the classroom for the most basic sums.”

Performances by Norfolk youngsters in their KS2 tests have been disappointing in recent years, with improvements not keeping up with the national average.

Gavin King, head at Bressingham Primary School near Diss, said: “This move can only help raise standards as strong calculation skills are vital in developing children’s wider mathematical skills.”

But Tony Hull, head teacher at Costessey Junior and Rackheath Primary schools, said he did not expect the change to impact much on the efforts already being made to arm pupils with the skills they needed.

He said: “Pupils taught well won’t be relying too heavily on calculators, they will use them for support.”

9 comments

  • "youngsters would no longer be able to rely on the aides" - Does knowboddy cheque speling?

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    Thoreauwasright

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • Come on, seriously is this all ET has got to do? The use of calculators in maths tests should have never been allowed in the first place.

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    Vic Sponge

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • I know the answer to the maths puzzle question that Chris Gorman asked Liz Truss this morning on Radio Norfolk...and I only used 9 fingers and 1 thumb.

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    Rhombus

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • how about a computer ban? My son's teacher wants him to start doing some work on the computer at work instead of tradition writing. Mmmm, that's gonna teach him to write neatly and spell by himself isn't it - NOT

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    markt74

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • On a more serious note, the ability to do mental arithmetic and have a rough Idea what the answer should be before using a calculator can save a lot of embarrassment when performing scientific calculations. I've seen 8 'A' level physics students give 8 different answers to the same question using calculators without understanding the basic rules of mathematics. Good move Ms. Truss.

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    Thoreauwasright

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • At last, an MP actually doing something about calculators. I have always said pupils should use their brains more and not rely on calculators. Maybe a new year resolution, MPs doing what they have promised? I very much doubt it.

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    carol stead

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I've yet to see people playing darts use a calculator Martin. The problem, I believe, is that people have a kind of blind faith that the final number on a calculator (or a shop till) is the correct answer. With some mathematical ability people will at least be within an order of magnitude of knowing. In a similar way, relying on a spell checker can lead to bad English, for example, aides is a valid word but not in the context above.

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    Thoreauwasright

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • I though the aim of the test using calculators was to show that children were capable of using these valuable tools rather than allowing them to sit a maths test relying on calculators. Using calculators properly takes learning in the same way as anyother skill. Maybe the tests have changed . If she wants to pick up maths skills she should look at the way the national curriculum forces teachers to teach kids clumsy and unnecessary means of calculation in long multiplication and division for instance ( in the name of understanding concepts but pretty confusing and unhelpful) and whether the National Curriculum and SATS tests , which after all were influenced by the USA model, are too much run before they can walk. A look at why even pretty unacademic 80 year olds have a firm grasp on arithmetic might answer a few questions.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, November 9, 2012

  • "All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums." and when was the last time that anybody (except a trades-person using a tape measure) used anything but a calculator to add, subtract, divide, multiply ? join the real world, Ms Truss: or better still, join Nadine Dorries...

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

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